10.31.2016

Pokémon Sun and Moon Break Records

Nintendo’s biggest pre-orders ever


Pokémon fans have been clamoring for the next main entry of the series since the astounding success (and decline) of Pokémon Go. The mobile game became an overnight success (despite server issues, tracking issues and numerous other bugs). Go brought fans together, bringing back series veterans (like myself) who had moved on with fond memories of catching them all.

“Pokémon Go brought fans together, bringing back series veterans who had moved on with fond memories of catching them all.”

So it comes to no surprise that Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon, the next “true” Pokémon games, have become the most pre-ordered games in Nintendo’s history. The news comes via a Nintendo press release, leaving out sales figures. As of writing, the 3DS demo released a week ago has already surpassed 3.5 million downloads. This makes the demo the most downloaded demo on the Nintendo 3Ds eShop.

This is important for Nintendo. With the mixed reception to the Switch’s big reveal, Nintendo is hoping to change investors’ minds for the better. Many fans speculated that Nintendo would cease support for the Nintendo 3DS soon following the release of the Switch in March, but Nintendo will continue supporting the 3DS. With over 60 million units worldwide, and a few special editions units slated for release, Nintendo is making sure 3DS owners aren’t feeling left out.

“Nintendo is hoping to change investors' minds for the better.”

For comparison, Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire sold 13.18 million games combined, making them the third highest-grossing game(s). Pokémon X and Y did even better with 15.64 million combined copies, taking the number one spot. Details on the game’s Alolan forms, Z-Moves and starter Pokémon have been trickling out (links contain gameplay spoilers). 

Pokémon Sun and Moon hit US shores on November 18. Anyone who would like to pre-order a copy can do so at any major retailer.

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10.29.2016

Davis's Tech News October 23 - 29


"Davis's Tech News" is a weekly digest of #technews curated by
D&theJM's Senior Technology Correspondent, Davis.

10.29.2016 Now Western Digital sells SSDs, too
10.27.2016 Apple AirPods indefinitely delayed beyond original “late October” window
10.26.2016 Fake Blue Screen of Death faux-freezes your system like the real McCoy
10.26.2016 Google lays off staff and 'pauses' Fiber in 8 cities
10.26.2016 AMD confirms Zen processors launching early 2017
10.26.2016 Sega working with Valve to reinstate mods pulled from Steam without explanation
10.26.2016 Samsung Sets Its Reputation on Fire With Bogus DMCA Takedown Notices
10.26.2016 Microsoft announces a VR headset for $299
10.26.2016 More proof shows Hollywood insiders leaking movies on torrent sites
10.25.2016 AMD hopes $10 price cut on Radeon RX 470 and 460 will spoil GTX 1050 Ti launch

Editor's note: We previously used Readability, a read-it-later bookmarklet service, to curate Davis's Tech News. However, it shut down at the end of last month. Our hearts go out to this phenomenal platform's talented developers. Readability's design language is in the DNA of Davis and the Jake-Man; our gray background (#212324) and serif font, Mercury, were inspired by this wonderful platform that for seven years empowered users to "Read Comfortably."

http://www.davisandthejakeman.com/search/label/davistechnews

10.28.2016

Apple and Microsoft’s New Machines Are Shipping with Outdated Hardware

MacBook Pro and Surface Studio Will Run Skylake


Yesterday, Apple unveiled its 2016 refresh of the MacBook Pro. These new machines come equipped with four multipurpose ThunderBolt 3 USB Type-C ports and a headphone jack (laughably, this was not a given prior to the keynote). They feature a revamped implementation of the butterfly mechanism introduced on the twelve-inch MacBook last year. This lineup can very much be seen as an evolution of that device.

On the Windows side, Microsoft announced a twenty-eight inch all-in-one dubbed the Surface Studio. Introduced on Wednesday, the Studio is an ultrathin machine that shares the same 3:2 aspect ratio as its Surface brethren. The Studio takes the best elements of the iMac and Surface Pro and marries them into an exorbitantly expensive (starting price is three large) and svelte package.

Surface Studio [top] and MacBook Pros (Late 2016) [bottom] 

Albeit in different ways, both the Surface Studio and new MacBook Pro are feats of engineering that push their respective product categories forward. Devices this ingeniously thin and versatile must have been in production for a great while, which leads to a major caveat these machines share: they are shipping with outdated processor architectures. 

This isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker, as the new seventh-generation Kaby Lake breaks with Intel’s tick-tock upgrade cycle and is merely a stopgap to pacify the market until Cannonlake debuts next year. Modest though the gains in Kaby Lake are, the fact remains that Cupertino and Redmond are asking their customers to pay top dollar for last year’s tech.

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10.26.2016

iPhone 7 Explodes

Is 7 an Unlucky Number?


As many consumers are now aware, Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 was just recalled for safety reasons. The Galaxy 7 line had a number of phones ignite, leading to a ban from US airlines and investigations to the cause of the problem. Now it seems that attention has turned to the iPhone 7 following reports of one having a similar issue in Australia.

Mat Jones, a surfing instructor in New South Wales, Australia, has claimed that his iPhone 7 exploded inside his vehicle. The story goes that he returned from a surfing trip to find his car burning, caused by his iPhone. Mr. Jones said that he left the phone wrapped in a pair of pants inside his car, which were still on fire when he got to the car. 

"Mat Jones of Australia claims that his iPhone 7 exploded."

The iPhone 7s include lithium-ion batteries, which can explode under certain conditions. If the phone were left wrapped in a pair of pants inside a car with the windows closed, it could become a very hot environment. It is fairly likely that the iPhone simply overheated, but because the surfer was away from the car at the start of the fire, the cause isn’t certain. (Maybe it’s the pants’ fault?)

So far, it looks like Apple does not know what caused the problem. This seems to be an isolated case right now, and looks to be only the second report of a fire caused by an iPhone 7. Due to the recent issues with Samsung phones, consumers are paying more attention to problems in the mobile market.

“Due to the recent issues with Samsung phones, consumers are paying more attention to problems in the mobile market.”

The incident is unlikely to affect Apple as long as it does not become widespread. Apple will probably investigate the issue thoroughly before announcing whether the phone was the cause. Right now, the iPhone 7 is set to compete with Google's new Pixel phones. With Samsung’s presence slipping, and with Apple, Google and LG competing for market share, Apple has to address these incidents somehow.

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10.24.2016

Nintendo Makes a Switch

Name Revealed, Features Teased for New Console


The dust has settled from Nintendo’s unveiling of the Nintendo Switch. Rumors are still going around, but Nintendo has released a few more details since its reveal trailer last week. We discussed what we thought it would take for the NX to be a success back in February, and collected some of the rumors going around last month.

Nintendo’s next console will support Unreal Engine 4, which powers games like Street Fighter V and Gears of war 4. This should give the Switch enough power to play AAA games, which were often missing from the Wii U lineup. Right now, third parties are keeping silent about upcoming releases, but the announcement trailer did include footage of Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. A special edition of Skyrim featuring remastered graphics releases this Thursday, and will likely be a launch title.

NVIDIA’s tegra chips are going to be the brains of the new console. Tegra chips are great for tablets and other mobile electronics, offering fair power and battery efficiency. This does mean that the Switch will lose to the PS4 and Xbox One in raw power, but this is still a step up for Nintendo. The Tegra X1 outperformed the PS3 and Xbox 360, running Doom 3: BFG edition at 1080p and 60 fps without frame drops. Better yet, NVIDIA is likely preparing the next model, the X2, for the console’s launch.

“The Tegra X1 outperformed the PS3 and Xbox 360, running Doom 3: BFG edition at 1080p and 60 fps without frame drops.”

The console has two parts: the handheld portion and the dock. While the handheld holds the processing power of the console, the dock connects to the TV directly and charges the device. Nintendo hasn’t said anything about the battery life of the console… Fans will also be relieved to know that Amiibos will be supported on the new console. 

The Switch’s functionality was demonstrated in the trailer, and so far the Switch’s “gimmick” is that two controllers (named Joy-Cons) attach to the sides of the portable device. Players can play the console like a tablet, with controls on both sides, or detach the Joy-Cons for local multiplayer. There is also a stand on the back of the console, so that it can be used as a screen on any flat surface. Consoles can even be linked for friendship destroying four-player games like Mario Kart.

“Players can play the console like a tablet, with controls on both sides, or detach the Joy-Cons for local multiplayer.”

It seems that Nintendo has dropped the motion sensing technology started with the Wii. There is also a strong possibility that the handheld’s screen does not have touchpad functionality like in the Wii U. Nintendo looks to be focusing on core gamers with this console, and removing proprietary features might ease multi-platform development.

The Switch will use cartridges to hold its games. Back in the PlayStation era, cartridges had limited storage capacity. This prompted a move to optical discs, which included not only games but music CDs and DVD movies. Flash storage has come a long way since then, and can now store more for less cost. A side effect is that the Switch will not have physical backwards compatibility. Nintendo has been silent on whether the Wii U’s or other consoles’ games would be available as downloads.

It is possible that Nintendo is moving toward a single platform future. Nintendo’s e-shop currently holds gaming classics dating from the NES to the Wii U, as well as some of their handhelds. By giving players access to this library, as well as Wii and Wii U classics, Nintendo might be able to bolster their launch lineup and keep their communities alive. The relative success of Splatoon and Super Smash Bros. Wii U shouldn’t be forgotten in Nintendo’s move to bigger and better things.

“The relative success of Splatoon and Super Smash Bros. Wii U shouldn’t be forgotten in Nintendo’s move to bigger and better things.”

The Switch has hit the net, but it was still a tough week for Nintendo. After announcing their announcement for the new console, Nintendo’s stock rose five percent. Once the trailer released and investors knew what the NX was, Nintendo’s stock declined seven percent. 

Nintendo is planning to release the Switch in March. With the Wii U’s commercial failure, this could be do or die for the once great gaming giant.

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Pixel vs. iPhone Comparison

Apples to Apples


The Google Pixel phone was released last week and the reviews are in. Google’s first smartphone has received nearly universal praise and its early success has resurfaced that age-old question: iOS or Android?

Usually when buying an Android handset, you’re making a compromise. Shorter security and update support as well as a lack of support (cell phone carriers do their best to offer parity with the Apple Store) are common reasons to get the iPhone. As we discussed in this month’s podcast, part of what you’re paying for with the premium price the iPhone commands is piece of mind; Apple supports the iPhone with iOS updates (new features and patches) for three to five years after release, which is much longer than the one to two typically seen on the Android side.

"The open nature of Android lends itself to customization in a way unlike the iPhone’s dictatorial and closed approach."

That’s not to say Android phones are without their advantages. The open nature of the platform lends itself to customization in a way unlike the iPhone’s dictatorial and closed approach. You also have a wealth of choice when shopping for an Android whereas the current iPhone lineup is at an all-time high of three devices. 

The Pixel’s approach is to match Apple feature-for-feature with the end goal being a superior phone: 24/7 support, a top-notch camera, a guaranteed three years of security updates. Not to mention, the similar design.

The iPhone’s main advantages are its A10 Fusion chip which benchmarks higher than the Pixel’s Snapdragon 821 and its waterproofing. The Pixel’s main advantage is that it’s not an iPhone. At the expense of coming across as an edgy Apple fanboy, your correspondent is in the market for a new handset and is not sold on the Pixel promise.


The aforementioned three years of security support is outlined in a Google Support thread which also states that there are “no guaranteed Android version updates after October 2018” for the Pixel. That and identical pricing to Apple left a bitter taste and lead yours truly to shop outside the flagship segment of the market. If you’re getting shorter-term software support than the iPhone, you should be paying a lower price.

Readers are advised to consider the mid-tier, last year’s flagships, and hanging onto their current smartphone because with Google leaving the Pixel susceptible to water damage and Apple nixing the headphone jack, there is no perfect smartphone. Both companies have nailed their software to near perfection, but the hardware in both camps is sorely lacking.

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10.23.2016

Davis's Tech News October 16 - 22


"Davis's Tech News" is a weekly digest of #technews curated by
D&theJM's Senior Technology Correspondent, Davis.

10.20.2016 Your dynamic IP address is now protected personal data under EU law
10.20.2016 Samsung removes YouTube video showing GTA V mod that turns its Note 7 into a bomb
10.20.2016 Here's why DDR4 RAM prices have spiked
10.18.2016 Google Pixel review: The best Android phone, even if it is a little pricey
10.18.2016 Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 and GTX 1050 Ti promise affordable 1080p gaming
10.18.2016 Tech support scammers preying on young Americans, study finds
10.18.2016 10Gbps over telephone lines: XG.fast DSL means we don’t need fibre… yet
10.18.2016 Feds got search warrant demanding anyone’s fingerprints to open phones
10.18.2016 Red Dead Redemption 2 announced, but no PC confirmation for the time being
10.17.2016 $5 million dollars paid as Facebook’s bug bounty program turns 5
10.17.2016 Tesla must not use the term “autopilot,” Germany says
10.17.2016 ‘We have your daughter’: A virtual kidnapping and a mother’s five hours of hell
10.17.2016 Netflix finds users’ passwords floating around online: change yours now!
10.17.2016 US Reps Requesting Further Intel Around Yahoo Surveillance Story

Editor's note: We previously used Readability, a read-it-later bookmarklet service, to curate Davis's Tech News. However, it shut down at the end of last month. Our hearts go out to this phenomenal platform's talented developers. Readability's design language is in the DNA of Davis and the Jake-Man; our gray background (#212324) and serif font, Mercury, were inspired by this wonderful platform that for seven years empowered users to "Read Comfortably."

http://www.davisandthejakeman.com/search/label/davistechnews

10.20.2016

Davis & the Jake-Man 09: Smartphone Showdown (Google Pixel XL vs. iPhone 7 Plus vs. LG V20)

10.19.2016

NVIDIA Announces New Entry-Level Graphics Cards

GTX 1050 and GTX 1050 Ti Launch October 25th


NVIDIA’s new launch schedule following the Pascal GPU architecture continues with two new entry-level cards. The GeForce GTX 1050 will have 2 GB GDDR5 memory and 640 Cuda Cores. Its Ti version will have 4GB of GDDR5 memory and 768 Cuda Cores. A GTX 1050 card will retail around $109, while a 1050 Ti will be about $139.

NVIDIA’s GTX 1080 and 1070 launched in May and introduced NVIDIA’s new Pascal architecture. The Pascal architecture has many improvements over Maxwell, including energy efficiency and an exponential leap in performance. Pascal also includes NVIDIA NVLink high-speed bidirectional interconnect, which scales applications across multiple GPUs. 

“The Pascal architecture has many improvements over Maxwell, including energy efficiency and an exponential leap in performance.”

The Pascal architecture also introduces new artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms and a new memory design. Their AI algorithms aren’t particularly useful for gaming, but will help in deep learning applications. Chip on Wafer on Substrate (CoWoS) combines data and processor to provide a 3x boost in memory bandwidth performance. Both cards will draw 75W, the maximum allowed for a PCIe slot. NVIDIA will allow partner companies to sell factory overclocked cards, which will require an external power connector.

“NVIDIA hopes to tap the same market as they did for the GTX 750 and 750 Ti.”

NVIDIA hopes to tap the same market as they did for the GTX 750 and 750 Ti. The x50 cards are meant to be a step up from integrated GPUs, rather than a high-end solution. 2014’s GTX 750s served well and sold well (I myself use a 750 Ti), but can’t run many games at 1080p with maxed settings. In a bit of a twist, there will be no Founder's Edition cards, so all 1050 cards will be vendor custom designs.

Although the official launch for the cards is the 25th, it may be a bit longer until gamers can get their hands on them. The GTX 1050 Ti will be available next week, but the 1050 won’t be. Vendors’ 1050 cards won’t be available until a later, but will be sold as soon as vendors have them. 

The GTX 1050 series will directly compete with AMD’s RX 460 and RX 480. AMD has had two months alone in the current generation mid-range card space, and reception has been positive. We’ll have to wait for initial reviews and sales, but NVIDIA’s newest cards have a lot of potential.

Both cards are unavailable at time of writing, but those interested can sign up to be notified on release here.

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10.18.2016

Sony Settles Class Action Lawsuit

Sony Agrees to Pay Some Purchasers of the Original PlayStation 3


This week, Sony settled a class action lawsuit involving the “other OS” feature of the original PlayStation 3. The 6 year lawsuit has been settled, and some PlayStation 3 owners will be able to claim money from Sony. Owners who provide acceptable proof that they used the other OS function will receive $55. Owners who submit a claim without proof saying they intended to use the feature will receive $9.

The lawsuit was thrown out in 2011 by a California judge, and was revived in 2014. PlayStation 3 owners were angry over a firmware update which removed the “other OS” feature. The "other OS" was usually a Linux operating system, and some owners bought the console specifically for Linux. PlayStation 3 owners had the choice to refuse the upgrade, but would lose access to the PlayStation Network.

“PlayStation 3 owners had the choice to refuse the upgrade, but would lose access to the PlayStation Network.”

Officially, Sony removed the feature for security reasons, but many believed it was an anti-piracy measure. Sony claimed the move was allowed under its terms of service, but PlayStation 3 owners sued for "breach of warranty, false advertising and other offenses".

Anyone who purchased the original PlayStation 3 between November 2006 and April 2010 from an authorized US retailer can submit a claim. To receive the $55, PlayStation 3 owners must provide a proof of sale and proof they used the other OS feature. Acceptable sale proof includes a receipt, credit card statement, or other document showing the date and location of the sale. For the owner to prove the feature was in use, they will need to provide a screenshot showing Linux on their PlayStation 3 or some other proof.

All claims must be submitted by Dec. 7 here, and an FAQ for the settlement can be found here.

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10.15.2016

Davis's Tech News October 9 - 15


"Davis's Tech News" is a weekly digest of #technews curated by
D&theJM's Senior Technology Correspondent, Davis.

10.16.2016 Self-Checkout Skimmers Go Bluetooth
10.13.2016 After Yahoo data breach, Verizon hints that it could pull out of $4.83B deal
10.13.2016 Samsung will give former Note 7 owners $100 to buy another Samsung phone
10.12.2016 Twitter bot baits bullies into meaningless and futile arguments
10.12.2016 CCTV that lets the crooks watch you, not the other way around…
10.11.2016 The Galaxy Note 7 is dead

Editor's note: We previously used Readability, a read-it-later bookmarklet service, to curate Davis's Tech News. However, it shut down at the end of last month. Our hearts go out to this phenomenal platform's talented developers. Readability's design language is in the DNA of Davis and the Jake-Man; our gray background (#212324) and serif font, Mercury, were inspired by this wonderful platform that for seven years empowered users to "Read Comfortably."

http://www.davisandthejakeman.com/search/label/davistechnews

10.14.2016

Google Pixel Phone is Bad for Android as a Whole

What's good for Google isn't necessarily good for the consumer


Last week, Google announced its new flagship phones, the Pixel and Pixel XL. As covered by Davis, this is Google’s first attempt at controlling the entire stack from software to hardware, a method similar to Apple’s. And like Apple’s iPhone, the base model of each costs $649. Google’s official phone comes in two sizes. This is notable both because of the choice it offers consumers and due to the similarity to both the iPhone 7 and Samsung Galaxy S7. Prices for all three handsets approach $1,000 when spec’d out with a 5 ½ inch screen and the maximum available flash storage.

Google’s presentation last week served as the great reveal of its strategy for the near future; Google is now a hardware company. Atop the search giant’s portfolio of streaming solutions and interconnected routers sit these two handsets. And like other Android OEMs, Google has its own opinion on what UI tweaks and software solutions should ship with their version of the OS.

"The Pixel phones don’t run stock Android but instead run a flavor with the Google Assistant baked in."

Unlike the now discontinued Nexus lineup, the Pixel phones don’t run “stock Android” but instead run a flavor with the Google Assistant, a chatbot powered by Google Now, baked in. At its heart, Android is open source. However, the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) serves largely as a vehicle for GApps, the suite of applications Google forces hardware vendors to preload onto their devices in exchange for access to the Play Store. There is no vendor with the scale of Samsung or Apple that ships mobile devices running a Google-free variant of Android (in the West, at least).

And so since the separation of Android and GApps is theoretical, how Google modifies its version of Android is of the utmost importance. The modifications Mountain View has made to the world’s most-used operating system will likely trickle down into the required programs that will come preinstalled on handsets by Sony, Samsung, HTC, and others. The preference Google is showing for its own search engine and AI assistant will send shockwaves through the Android ecosystem.

"The preference Google is showing for its own search engine and AI assistant will send shockwaves through the Android ecosystem."

Yet-to-be-determined sales figures notwithstanding, Google has successfully mimicked Apple’s method of mobile development. Apple is the world’s most profitable company, so copying Cupertino is likely to play out well for Google. But the iPhone and its iOS are a closed system, so if these trends lead to less choice, it’s Google’s hardware partners and ultimately we, the consumers, who will get the short end of the stick.

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10.12.2016

Samsung Issues Recall for Galaxy Note 7

Galaxy Note 7 Goes Down in Flames


On Tuesday, Samsung initiated a worldwide recall for their Galaxy Note 7s. Due to several cases of the phones catching fire, Samsung has ceased production of the phones. Samsung will not repair or refurbish a single device, and will instead “safely dispose” of them all.

The Galaxy Note 7 launched on August 19, and phones began having problems early September. Samsung and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced a complete recall following reports of battery failures and fire. Despite replacing hundreds of thousands of the phones with a new “safe” replacement, reports continued.


The same exact failures continued to happen, and consumers started to lose confidence in the Note 7 name. Earlier this month, carriers started offering returns and exchanges for all Note 7’s. Carriers have also stopped selling the phones entirely after a battery fire on an airplane. Samsung is currently asking all Galaxy Note 7 owners to return their phone to the carrier or retailer they purchased it from. Samsung has lengthened return and exchange periods for the phone. The company has also started sending fireproof return boxes to customers who have contacted them about a return.

The return kit includes three boxes, a static shielding bag and a pair of safety gloves. Owners will place the phone in the static shielding bag, and then inside box after box. The last of these boxes is lined with ceramic fiber paper (which can cause skin irritation) capable of withstanding extreme heat.


Accounting for $2 billion in loses, Samsung has adjusted its third quarter profit estimates. Over two million Galaxy Note 7s were manufactured, and current smartphone recycling practices will make many components of the phone unrecoverable. As of writing, Samsung hasn’t detailed their disposal process, and environmentalists are worried about the damage improper disposal may cause.

With the Galaxy Note 7’s reputation in tatters, Samsung will have to rely on its other flagship, the Galaxy S8. The Galaxy S8 will launch in 2017, and a good write-up on the rumors surrounding the phone can be found here. Although their next flagship looks promising, Samsung may be forced to drop the Galaxy name if they hope the S8 will succeed.

10.11.2016

Google Details Pixel Phones

A step in the right direction?

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Google’s Pixel phones hope to fight it out with Apple’s iPhone and Samsung’s Nexus phone lines. The 5-inch Pixel and 5.5-inch Pixel XL will have exclusive features. By selecting its own components, Google will now have its own flagship instead of tweaking other company’s products into a Nexus. (Which is good considering Samsung’s exploding Note 7 devices).

So what about the specs? Both Pixel phones will have quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processors, with two cores running at 2.15GHz and two at 1.6GHz. The processors also get a boost from Qualcomm’ Hexagon technology, speeding up image and audio processing. With OLED screens, 4GB of memory and either 32 or 128GB of storage, these certainly sound like premium phones.

“With OLED screens, 4GB of memory and either 32 or 128GB of storage, these certainly sound like premium phones.”

The starting price of $649 for the Pixel 32GB model will match Apple’s iPhone 7 and Samsung’s Galaxy S7. The Pixel 128GB will retail for $749, and the Pixel XL will be $769 for 32GB and $869 for 128GB. Be warned, the Pixel phones will not have expandable memory. Google will instead provide unlimited photo and video cloud storage to purchasers.

The phones will come in three colors: “very silver”, “quite black” and “really blue”. Pixel phones will have a fingerprint reader on the back. They will also have fast battery charging and a 12.3 MP camera sensor (beating the iPhone’s 12 MP camera). The Pixel phones will be the first Daydream compatible phones. Daydream is Google’s latest affordable VR option, which includes a headset and remote for $79.

Google Assistant will be in the Pixel phones from the start and aim to be a central part of the software.”

Google Assistant will be in the Pixel phones from the start and, much like Microsoft’s Cortana, aim to be a central part of the software. The latest version of Android, 7.1 Nougat, will debut on the phone. During support calls, Google Support will be able to take remote control of your phone. And the best part of all? A headphone jack.

Google knows what it’s doing here. By making a phone brand which it controls exclusively, Google may be able to get away from some of Android’s historic problems. Slow to nonexistent manufacturer updates created a fragmented ecosystem. As a result, many Android users have given up on receiving the newest security patches. In the future, Google’s users may have less insecure OEM bloatware which they can’t remove from their devices. Anyone interested can pre-order one of the Pixel models here.

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10.09.2016

Davis's Tech News October 2 - 8


"Davis's Tech News" is a weekly digest of #technews curated by
D&theJM's Senior Technology Correspondent, Davis.

10.09.2016 We’re now up to five reports of “safe” Galaxy Note 7s exploding worldwide
10.06.2016 Odin ransomware takes over from Zepto and Locky
10.06.2016 Cops arrest hundreds of people allegedly involved in IRS phone scam
10.06.2016 Welcome to the machine—Yahoo mail scanning exposes another US spy tool
10.04.2016 Brave browser starts paying Bitcoins to adblocked site
10.04.2016 Apple to “do a Windows 10” by pushing out macOS automatically
10.04.2016 Amazon: no more freebie products in exchange for reviews!
10.03.2016 Digital Homicide withdraws lawsuit against Steam users
10.03.2016 Google Pixel phone listings go live early, offer new press images
10.02.2016 Steam's secret Early Access rules reveal Valve's hands-off approach
09.29.2016 iPhone exploit bounty surges to an eye-popping $1.5 million
09.18.2016 NYPD can’t count cash they’ve seized because it would crash computers


Editor's note: We previously used Readability, a read-it-later bookmarklet service, to curate Davis's Tech News. However, it shut down at the end of last month. Our hearts go out to this phenomenal platform's talented developers. Readability's design language is in the DNA of Davis and the Jake-Man; our gray background (#212324) and serif font, Mercury, were inspired by this wonderful platform that for seven years empowered users to "Read Comfortably."

http://www.davisandthejakeman.com/search/label/davistechnews

10.04.2016

Ubisoft Shareholder Threatens Takeover

Ubisoft struggles to keep independence from mass media conglomerate


Ubisoft made a few headlines this week amidst concerns of a Vivendi takeover. European media conglomerate Vivendi has been trying to get a controlling interest in Ubisoft for some time now. Ubisoft, well-known for Assassin’s Creed and other franchises, feared a hostile takeover and has bought some of its shares back to block Vivendi.

Ubisoft held a meeting last Thursday, and in an unexpected turn of events, Vivendi chose not to nominate any of its own people to the board. This allowed CEO Yves Guillemot and his brother Gerard Guillemot to be re-elected to the board. The publisher was also able to appoint the independent directors it nominated back in June.

At the meeting, Vivendi did not make any proposals, and none of its representatives spoke during the Q&A session. Vivendi did not vote on resolutions "related to employee stock grants and options," preventing them from passing. Ubisoft has called the move “systematic obstruction”, referring to its competitive compensation policy for employees.

“Vivendi holds 23 percent of Ubisoft’s shares.”

Right now, Vivendi holds 23 percent of Ubisoft’s shares. Vivendi is suspected to be planning a hostile takeover like that of the former Guillemot owned publisher Gameloft earlier this year. Ubisoft is doing what it can to avoid such a takeover, including seeking outside support to keep its independence.

Ubisoft has also promised they will put more time and effort into certain franchises, and will be moving Assassin's Creed away from yearly releases. Yves Guillemot even stated publicly that Ubisoft would sell itself to a competitor before falling under Vivendi’s control.

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10.03.2016

iPhone 7 Hoax Goes Viral

Angry Users Break Phones in Desperate Search for Headphone Jack

Last week, a video of an iPhone 7 owner drilling a hole in their new phone and discovering a hidden headphone jack went viral. The description for the video reads, “This video is for those who don't want to get $159 wireless airpods or have to insert your headphones into an adapter every time you listen to music.” Since then, the video has been viewed over 14 million times, and potentially hundreds of angry users have fallen for the hoax.

Several comments have been posted to the video, such as, “I tried this and ended up with display destruction and it not working… I really committed the biggest mistake of my life by watching this video.” Another read “A friend of mine told me it worked for him, but my iPhone won’t turn on after I drilled the hole for the jack.” The user continued “I checked and it was the 3.5mm drill, so I made no mistake there! What happened? Any of you have the same problem?”

A few months ago, Apple sent shockwaves through the internet when they announced that their next iPhone would not include the familiar 3.5 mm headphone jack. Users who would like to use headphones with Apple’s new flagship must instead invest in Lightning or Bluetooth headphones, or Apple’s new $159 wireless earbuds known as AirPods.

This news was not taken lightly, with some tech reviewers declaring the end of Apple’s reign, several petitions requesting Apple keep the 3.5 mm jack, and many new outlets commenting on the decision. But the iPhone 7 sold fairly well anyway, with online pre-orders and stocking issues skewing sales numbers.

The joke video’s description does not contain any of the typical “this is a hoax, please don’t destroy your phone” warnings or disclaimers. So far, no one’s posted an angry video to YouTube showing the world their destroyed phone, and who would like to be the first?

“The joke video’s description does not contain any warnings or disclaimers.”

At time of writing, Apple has not given any official word on the video yet, although they might have to start warning users not to drill a hole into their $700 device very soon. Apple’s warranty does not cover “intentional damage”to the device, even if someone truly believed Apple they could make a headphone jack with a 3.5 mm drill bit.

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Apple has Become Complacent

Cupertino refuses to challenge the status quo


Personal computers are of ever-dwindling importance. This truism is strongly linked to the advent of mobile computing kicked off by the release of the iPhone and brought to the masses by way of Android handsets. But there is one segment of the PC market that defies this cliché, ironically one whose marketing claims the product is something other than a PC.

Macs are bucking this trend and their sales have been growing quarter over quarter despite the computing market shrinking as a whole. They are touted as quick, virus-resistant and, above all else, trendy. Think of your local café. It’s filled with twenty-somethings typing away on MacBook Airs.


This mere thought will rustle the jimmies of any PC enthusiast. And rightfully so, “Don’t they know that i5 is clocked at 1.4 Ghz?” “Who’s really satisfied with a TN panel in 2016?” “Good luck upgrading that $1000 paperweight, chump.” There is certainly an Apple tax associated with buying Cupertino hardware and what was once a world of difference in ease of use between Windows and Mac is a thing of the past. 

When the MacBook Air was perfected in 2010 (the 2008 MBA was classic “first-gen Apple” with its hard disk drive and outrageous price tag) it set the laptop market ablaze and Windows OEMs responded with Intel’s Ultrabook initiate. A lot has changed in six years and both the Air and its older brother the MacBook Pro haven’t been updated since 2015. 

Eliciting a “don’t buy” warning from MacRumors, every Macintosh save the 12-inch Retina model (which your correspondent briefly owned and found too cramped and underpowered) is a ticking time bomb in that you are likely to be buying an obsolete product; the web has been inundated with rumors regarding a MacBook refresh. 

"None of these theories explain why the MacBook Air lacks a IPS display and why they still sell a four-year-old variant of the MacBook Pro."

Among this sea of speculation is the argument that Apple is waiting for the seventh generation of Intel processors, codenamed “Kaby Lake” before updating its line of notebooks. Another possibility is that Apple is putting the finishing touches on an OLED touchscreen function panel to replace the tradition row of F-keys on the MacBook Pro. Neither of these theories explain why the MacBook Air lacks a IPS display and why they still sell a four-year-old variant of the MacBook Pro with a third generation processor.

The only explanations that make sense, sadly, are the most cynical. Apple and their authorized sellers have a bunch of old MacBooks left and they don’t want to lose out on sales. Most people aren’t tech savvy enough to realize how poor of a decision buying the entry level MBP truly is. Apple’s brand recognition is so absolute and its products are so lusted after that many people are unfazed by the facts, by what the Windows faithful might call the “dirty secret” of the Macintosh line. 

The fact of the matter is that since the 2013 Mac refresh which incorporated the energy efficient Intel Haswell architecture, Apple computers have been sufficient for a full day of web browsing and productivity. Apple has become complacent since becoming the market leader in personal computing. And so long as consumers remain content with “good enough,” Apple will have no motivation to veer from the status quo.

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10.02.2016

Davis's Tech News September 25 - October 1


"Davis's Tech News" is a weekly digest of #technews curated by
D&theJM's Senior Technology Correspondent, Davis.

9.27.16 Unity at 10: For better—or worse—game development has never been easier
9.27.16 Razer DeathAdder receives Elite upgrade to mechanical switches and 16,000 DPI sensor
9.26.16 Don’t drill a headphone jack hole into your iPhone 7! It’s a hoax

Editor's note: We previously used Readability, a read-it-later bookmarklet service, to curate Davis's Tech News. However, it shut down at the end of last month. Our hearts go out to this phenomenal platform's talented developers. Readability's design language is in the DNA of Davis and the Jake-Man; our gray background (#212324) and serif font, Mercury, were inspired by this wonderful platform that for seven years empowered users to "Read Comfortably."

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